High above the maddening Hong Kong crowd, The Upper House sits atop Pacific Place in all its luxurious, understated glory. Revered for their impeccable commitment to personalized, high-touch service, their flawless service extends all the way up the 49th floor to Café Gray Deluxe, the hotel’s sophisticated modern European restaurant helmed by none other than the award-winning Singaporean-born Swiss restaurateur, Chef Gray Kunz. Noticing a growing number of hotel guests and dining patrons opting to eat more healthy and balanced, he did everything a great chef should – Chef Gray and his team spent six months creating and curating a menu reflective of the changing times. Launched earlier this summer, Café Gray’s Revitalising Menu is an elegant experience in vegan gastronomy. Not just plant-based, dishes are also gluten-free, organic, non-genetically modified, and sustainably sourced. From start to finish, our entire meal was as impressive as it was imaginative…so flavourful and incredibly satisfying, we were blown away. Environmentally conscious, healthy, and utterly delicious, we take you through the menu.
In lieu of the traditional Café Gray bread basket and yogurt dip that commences the meal, the Revitalising Menu begins with rice cakes and cauliflower purée with a splash of olive oil and spice blend of Egyptian dukkah and Arabic sumac. While cauliflower itself can taste a bit bland, the versatility of this nutritious veggie conforms so well to the seasoning, we found this to be the perfect palate starter to pioneer our journey.
Tartare Of Organic Chestnut Mushrooms
A clever play on steak tartare, Chef Gray’s version consists of finely diced organic chestnut mushrooms, served with mustard seeds and crispy lotus root chips. Petite, vinegar-flavored cornichons are concealed throughout the dish for a pleasant tarty surprise beneath a light salad bed of greens. The earthy texture of the savoury ‘shrooms are offset by the crunchy lotus root and the mildly sweet gherkins are perfect accompaniment to one another.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower, Spiced Dukkah
Served over a bed of quinoa and millet alongside generous vibrant dollops of lemon coulis and broccoli purée, a whole head of roasted cauliflower commandeers centre of the plate, giving off a heavenly fragrance of smoke and spice. Cauliflower is definitely having a moment – exploding onto menus here, there, and everywhere – and for good reason: this non-starchy cruciferous vegetable is an excellent, low-calorie source of potassium, Vitamin C, and glucosinolates (the sulfur-containing compounds that activate the body’s detoxification system). We loved how the kitchen roasted the entire cauliflower, charring the edges for that outdoorsy smoky flavor, with a strong umami quality. Vegan, vegetarian, or not, everyone can appreciate the hearty texture of this highly adaptable vegetable. The pairing of spiced dukkah with toasted almonds and sunflower seeds vividly reminded us of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavours, textures, and colours.
Mousse of Hojicha Tea, Grapefruit Sorbet
Rounding out the savoury, we close out our three-course lunch with a delightful mousse of hojicha tea (a roasted variation of green tea) served with tangy grapefruit sorbet and hidden juicy, sweet clementines to unearth, which make fora refreshing contrast. A crumble of gluten-free buckwheat (neither a grain nor related to wheat) provides a splendid crunch to this creative, invigorating dessert.
Before we relinquish our seats, a tray of delicate, handmade dark chocolate mendiants are presented at the table. A classic French confection composed of nuts and dried fruits, ours were studded with golden berries, dry apples, and almonds for an amazing combination of flavours – visually appealing and beautifully bite-sized.
To ensure he is sourcing the freshest ingredients available, the Revitalizing Menu changes on a weekly basis. If the goal of Chef Gray is to make vegan dining fulfilling and appetizing for non-vegans, it definitely hit the mark. We have already made plans to return.
49/F, 88 Queensway, Pacific Place, The Upper House, Admiralty, +852 3968 1106, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images courtesy of Green Queen and Café Gray.